Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy links to a Washington Post story about the increasing number of Americans who report their race and ethnicity as 'American' on their census forms. I would add three points to his statistical argument:
Posted by Dr. Weevil at May 27, 2002 12:48 AM
1. As Volokh says, an increase from 2.2% to 3.0% over ten years isn't much. At that rate, it will take four more censuses for the number to pass 10%. Of course, the rate may be increasing exponentially, but it would take more than two data points to come up with even a rough guess. I wonder how far back the data go.
2. Someone told me long ago that the Census Bureau lists anyone who refuses to answer the race question as 'white'. This seems plausible, though unlikely to be confirmed officially. Too bad it doesn't work. One of my cousins has put her race down as 'American' at least once, and the Census Bureau probably would find 'white' inaccurate for someone who is of half-Japanese and half-German/Dutch ancestry. I don't know whether she's taken advantage of the new 'mixed' category: it's not the easiest question to ask.
3. Variations are possible. Last time around, I put down my race as "All-American Mongrel", with a space or two to spare. No repercussions as yet that I know of, though I may now be on some federal craplist. I was thinking of the line from Stripes where Bill Murray says (I quote from memory): "What is an American? Someone whose ancestors were kicked out of every decent country in the world." It's something we have in common with Israelis and Australians.